An idiotic man struggles to make it through life on his own in St. Louis.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Navin / Cat Juggler (as Pig Eye Jackson also)
Richard Ward ...
Helena Carroll ...
Elvira (as Ren Wood)
Sonny Terry ...
Brownie McGhee ...
Blues Singer (as Brownie McGee)


Navin is an idiot. He grew up in Mississippi as adopted son of a black family but on his 18th birthday he feels he wants to discover the rest of the world and sets out to St. Louis. There everyone exploits his naivety, but then a simple invention brings him a fortune. Written by Tom Zoerner <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He was a poor black sharecropper's son who never dreamed he was adopted. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Easy Money  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was the eighth highest-grossing film of 1979. See more »


During Catlin Adams's stunt where she falls off the bike after going through the flaming wall, the wire used to snag her off the bike is obviously visible during her ride towards the wall. See more »


[first lines]
Navin R. Johnson: Huh? I am *not* a bum. I'm a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: my friends, and... uh... my thermos. Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi...
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Crazy Credits

Pig Eye Jackson - Cat Juggler (Steve Martin) See more »


Referenced in Special Collector's Edition: Candy Candy (2013) See more »


Pick A Bale Of Cotton
Sung by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (as Brownie McGee)
Words and Music by Leadbelly (as Huddie Ledbetter)
Collected and Adapted by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax
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User Reviews

A Hilarious concept
19 August 1999 | by (Hastings, NE) – See all my reviews

The Jerk is a great movie that stands out to the world. It's unique and fun in it's different way. Steve Martin plays a simple-minded man who strikes it rich and then falls back to the low-class way. The best part of the movie is the dialogue, it spreads from Martin's tasteless quotes to a different tone everytime. It's a classic movie... Even if it sometimes falls flat.

28 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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